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Mama Deb
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Essay: Towards a theory of House Elves

Towards a Theory of House Elves



1. Introduction
House-elves are one of the Harry Potter book's most controversial subjects. Are they, as Hermione and Dobby contend, poor, brainwashed slaves, cruelly used by the wealthy and powerful Purebloods? Are they simply fulfilling a biological destiny as Ron and Hagrid say? Why do Winky and the Hogwarts elves act towards the idea of freedom so differently from Dobby? This essay will attempt to present a theory about House-elves, their magic and their place in the Wizarding world.

2. House-elves
During the course of the first five novels, we meet three individual house-elves and one group. Only one is, I believe, typical for house-elves.

The first one we meet is Dobby. He is presented as a slave to the Malfoys. He wears a filthy pillow case as "the sign of [his] enslavement," he punishes himself, much to Harry's distress, and he truly hates both his condition and his family. After all, they are "evil, Dark wizards."

We have, at this point, no reason to think Dobby is unusual - slavery is bad, he's treated poorly and we know all about the Malfoys even if we've only seen Draco at this point. Why should we doubt him?

Except - he's tried to make Harry's summer more miserable by holding back his mail. I say "tried" because Harry has no expectations of friendship and is not more than mildly disappointed. He later performs magic to get Harry expelled - more on this later - then prevents him from going on the Hogwarts Express and finally causes him to fall off his broom. He does this entirely of his own will and in defiance of his family's desires. Yes, he punishes himself, but he does it anyway. Note that he leaves Malfoy Manor without permission.

He also longs for freedom. The idea is real for him - he wants clothing and to work for pay.

One further thing to consider - Hagrid, our expert for all magical creatures, calls him a "weirdo." Given that Hagrid named a three-headed dog "Fluffy" and bred Blast-Ended Skrewts, this is something to think about.

The next elf we meet is Winky. I believe she is the closest thing to a "normal" elf we have met, with the Hogwarts elves next. When we first meet her at the Quidditch World Cup, she is wearing a tidy tea-towel toga, and while she's unhappy at being so high up, she's not in any form of rebellion.

On the other hand, as we are later to learn, she has her own ideas and is able to persuade Crouch, Sr. to adopt them - she gets him to bring his son to the QWC. Nor is he surprised when she does so. She also runs in fear later, and while she ostensibly gets punished for this (as opposed to letting Barty go free), this is also a sign of a free will.

She is in despair when she is told she will get clothes, and even prostrates herself in front of Crouch. Note that she never punishes herself at this time. She doesn't get much of a chance, but Dobby would have run to the nearest tree.

The next time we see her, she is in the Hogwarts kitchens, wearing clothing - filthy clothing. She is ashamed of herself, she is still loyal to the Crouches and she is drinking heavily. What she is not doing, besides not getting paid, is working. And none of the other elves, in their tidy togas, seem to be bothered that she doesn't. That she's drunk, yes, but once they hide her away, they ignore her.

In OotP, we meet the Black elf, Kreacher. Kreacher is, apparently, insane. He does not work, he does not obey Sirius, he wears a filthy clout, and he steals. He also does not punish himself. However, he does not believe he's doing anything wrong. And, yes, Sirius does mistreat him, and that's wrong. But would Kreacher have trusted kindness from the family outcast?

Kreacher is considered to have become insane because he spent ten years in Grimmauld Place alone except for assorted vermin, photographs and portraits. This is not unreasonable. They also claim that he is waiting to join his ancestors on the wall.

The one time he obeys an "order" from Sirius, it's to leave the house. It is stressed that house-elves can't leave their family houses unless ordered. Kreacher, of course, runs to the remaining Black family member, Narcissa Malfoy, as Bellatrix is in Azkaban and Andromeda was struck out of the family when she married a Muggleborn wizard. Of course, Sirius was also burnt off, but that does seem more of a symbolic thing than anything real. He certainly wasn't disinherited. (Nor was his property confiscated, so it's not likely that the Malfoys will lose their fortune, either.)

The final example we have are the Hogwarts elves, which we've only met as a group. There are over a hundred of them to take care of the castle, do the routine cleaning and to feed all those hungry adolescents. To all appearances, they love it. They certainly resent all of Hermione's talk of freedom, to the point that they kick the Trio out of the kitchens. After which, they do not punish themselves that we can see.

They also refuse to clean Gryffindor Tower after Hermione starts leaving her gifts around, leaving it to the already-free Dobby. They do seem to accept Dobby as one of them, even if he shamefully accepts wages and even time off. They also accept that they will get no work out of Winky.

So, house-elves, Dobby excepted, regard getting clothes as a calamity. On the one hand, it is exactly analogous to a servant being turned out without references - a clothed house-elf has not only lost employment but also has a reduced chance of getting new employment, even if they don't want "paying." On the other hand, having gained employment, one would think that Winky would work, no matter how disgraced. This is, I think, important.

Less important but cute is how the elves' mental state is reflected in how they treat what they wear - depressed or unhappy elves are filthy, content ones are tidy. Kreacher, reflecting also Sirius's mental state, is so depressed that he doesn't care about his surroundings.

And Dobby is weird.

3. Wizarding world's views
There are two disparate views of house-elves in the wizarding world - Hermione's and everyone else's.

The rest of the wizarding world has a very simple view of house-elves. They are servants, and likely status symbols, given that Ron laments that his family can't afford one. Not that we have any idea how a family obtains them. They live but to serve, and they do so because they are house-elves and that's what they do. Goblins manage money, Centaurs watch the skies and Elves clean up after wealthy wizards.

Hermione, of course, believes that house-elves are enslaved against their wills, hate their lives and want to be given clothing. If not, they are brainwashed. She came to this conclusion, oddly enough, when she saw how hysterical Winky became upon being sacked. It doesn't help that Dobby is taking her little elf-mines, convincing her that she's right.

Two things are interesting here. One is that out of the hundred elves at Hogwarts, none of them wanted these gifts, even though they know Dumbledore will keep them on. The other is that no one doubts that Hermione, a mere student at Hogwarts, can give clothing. Remember that Harry had to engineer it so Lucius Malfoy gave Dobby his freedom sock. It can't be just anyone who does this, so how come Hermione can?

4. Digression - underage magic
At this point, it's necessary to discuss the detection of underage magic and the implications for underage wizards and witches and for house-elves.

We know underage witches and wizards are not permitted to perform magic outside of Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express (and possibly Hogsmeade, although that's never made clear.) They get a notice at the end of the school year.

We encounter the effects of that ban along with our first glimpse of house-elves in Chamber of Secrets. Dobby comes to No. 4 Privet Drive with the express intention of preventing Harry from going back to Hogwarts, and to that end, he performs magic to disrupt the Dursleys' dinner party. Harry immediately receives an owl warning him that the next time he performs magic when he's not supposed to, he will be expelled from Hogwarts.

Since it wasn't Harry who performed that magic, this is confusing. It would also be confusing as to why he didn't protest, but this is Harry, who accepts that bad things happen to him. This is why Dobby's stoppage of Harry's mail also did not work - Harry at this point has no expectations about other people. He's sad they haven't written but not discouraged.

Anyway, the only conclusion one could get from that owl is that the Ministry of Magic can detect that magic is being done, but cannot detect who is doing it. Wands cannot be a factor because no wands were used.

This has serious implications for Hogwarts students. If the Ministry can only detect that magic has been performed, this law can only affect children in nonWizarding households. Draco Malfoy can do wandwork to his heart's content in the heart of the manor, while the Weasley twins can do the same hiding in their room (Mrs. Weasley would hardly permit it done in front of her.) Hermione and Harry, on the other hand, are forced to live magicless until September.

While understandable - children can be careless, so best to just forbid the practice - it would also be monstrously unfair.

However, things change in Order of the Phoenix. Here, Mundungus Fletcher Apparates right in front of the Dursleys' house - so close they hear the pop over the television. And no owl comes to warn Harry. It's entirely possible, this being Mundungus, that he has done so in the past as well, if not so close or at times when no one was home to hear it.

If it were only that, it could be solved easily enough - Harry is too young to Apparate and it occurred outside the Dursley house - although, as Harry is the only wizard on record as living in Little Whinging, that still should have been problematical.

Later on that day, though, Harry has to defend himself and Dudley against the Dementors, using very sophisticated magic. He does so at a distance from the house. And he is immediately owled with a message that he will be expelled and his wand - the brother wand to Voldemort's, although the Ministry probably doesn't know that - will be destroyed. Dumbledore sorts that out, but the problem remains - they know it was Harry and not some other witch or wizard wandering through the suburbs who did that magic.

Which means that the Ministry can detect underage magic. Which means that, unless their parents construct elaborate and undetectable shields, no underage witch or wizard can perform magic outside of school - not even Draco Malfoy. Which would be why the twins remark that they hope those letters are forgotten each year.

This leaves us with the first problem, then. If it's possible to detect who did what magic, how can Harry be punished for magic he didn't do? Perhaps Rowling made another mistake, but that's too easy.

I think it was actually Harry's magic, even though he didn't use it himself.

5. Theory of house-elves
This leads me to my theory. I think house-elves are symbiotic to wizards. That is, the "powerful magic of their own" that Dumbledore mentions, the one that allows them to also pop into Apparation-proof Hogwarts, is fueled by the magic of their families, and allows them to use it for the good of those families as well as to support their own abilities. In return, the house-elves are both servants and guardians of their families, keeping their families' secrets and their own silence.

In this light, let's look at the elves again, starting with Winky, who is the closest to normal I believe we get. She starts out, all neat and tidy, bound to the Crouches, who are a very powerful family, both magically and politically. Winky herself is the guardian of an important secret - Barty, Jr. She does this for thirteen years, until Barty fights off the Imperious curse and escapes at the Quidditch World Cup, which is when Mr. Crouch sacks her. It's not for running away, as Hermione believes.

When she is given clothing, she is disgraced and in despair, although she is still highly loyal to the Crouches. Her clothes become filthy and she herself takes refuge inside a bottle of Butterbeer. And, as mentioned above, she does not work and no one expects her to do so. She can't work. She has no source of magic beyond what ever she has intrinsic to her. She has no pride, no resources and nothing she can do about it. By being given clothes, she is lost.

Kreacher, on the other hand, has (or had) a family of sorts. Once upon a time, the Blacks were also very powerful both politically and magically. By the time of OotP, it's down to one direct heir and three collateral ones, plus one child who is the heir to another family. Two of those heirs have been burnt out of the family and two of them are or were in Azkaban or on the run. The three collateral heirs are all married into other families, too, although I'm not sure how much of a difference that makes. This family is torn apart and damaged and their power is gone, except what Narcissa wields as Madam Malfoy. This can be a great deal, but we don't know right now, as we've yet to even hear her speak.

However, it does seem that Kreacher's powers are limited. Look how he repaired those picture frames - Dobby was able to close off Platform 9 3/4. Kreacher is unable to fix cracked glass. We know once upon a time, Sirius was a talented wizard, and he was still an Animagus, but we don't know how much of his magic he lost in Azkaban. Winky had both Barty and Mr. Crouch. Kreacher barely had anything - and it's possible that part of Sirius's mistreatment was, unconsciously, withholding power from his elf.

More problematical are the Hogwarts elves, because who are they bound to? I think the answer to that lies in Hermione's elf-hats. The Hogwarts elves magically consider all the residents of Hogwarts to be their family. Because of that, Hermione can free them if they allow her to do so. And because of that, they have enormous power to draw upon, which is necessary given the amount they would need to keep after that school.

Finally, we get to Dobby. How can Dobby survive so well without a family? And how could he use Harry's magic, given that Harry is not Malfoy? Why does he, alone of the house-elves we have met, desire freedom so much, and why is he willing to accept payment?

The answer is that Hagrid was right. Dobby is a "weirdo", a mutant. He has the ability to use power from any witch or wizard, whether or not they're his family. So he could use Harry's power to entrap him and possibly get him expelled from school, and so he can be perfectly happy not being attached to any family.

In fact, he probably latched onto that very early on. He was still bound to the Malfoys, who required him to punish himself if he did wrong and with whom he was miserable (note the state of his pillowcase), but he could sense and use the power of who ever came to visit. So he knew that he could be free. For him, being bound was both cruel and galling. He got no benefit from it at all.

I do assume that most of the wizarding world is unaware of this relationship. I can't imagine they'd be comfortable with their servants leaching off their power, and knowing how paranoid they can be, elves could be in great danger if this were ever discovered. So the elves keep their own secret as well as their silence on this point - as does Dobby.

Dumbledore probably knows, though, and therefore knows that Winky is useless and Dobby is dangerous. This is probably why he's employed them and keeps Winky supplied with butterbeer.

6. Conclusion
If my theory is correct, then elves are not slaves, but are rather in a mutually beneficial situation, a symbiosis, with the wizarding world, with Dobby being the exception who, literally in this case, proves the rule. They act like slaves to preserve this secret in order to protect their lives and their source of magic. They would have no thanks for Hermione for her efforts.

Comments
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This was very interesting, and makes more sense than anything we've seen on house-elves so far. I don't know if it's accurate, but it should be. *adds to memories*

Thank you! It's probably completely wrong, but at least it was fun to do.

That's really interesting, my boyfriend and I have been listening to GoF in the car over the past few weeks and have had a few arguments about Hermione's opinions on house elves etc. I think he'll be interested to read this too!

This is a brilliant theory. I did wonder, through reading the books, what the House Elves would do if they were free?

It's not enough just to free the slaves - you have to educate them, give them the means to make their own living, and not discriminate against them if they apply for the same paid work as their former masters.

So I always thought that *this* was one of the reasons the House Elves freaked out if someone tried to free them - sure, they may not like working for nothing, but at least they have a home and food. If they were free, they'd have nothing. After all, Lupin's "free" - free to be unemployed, free to starve, etc etc.

But this theory on deriving magical powers from their families adds another layer to that. I also like that it answered the question of what was going on with the letters Harry got in CoS and in OotP.

That makes sense. I wonder if we will see anything further in book 6 about houselves that would support it. I never really thought that much about house-elves before.

Interesting, however, I don't think I agree. I guess, to be correct, you need Rowling to tell you are correct by the end of Book Seven and I don't see that happening.

First of all as you pointed out in both cases of Harry getting the letter it happened either in the house or with his wand, so if the Ministry checked both and they just might, then Harry getting the letter is easy to explain. (Even easier if you call it a Flint.)

Second, I think both Winky and Kreacher's state are not so much a sign of their magic declining, but rather one of being depressed/alcoholic/insane.

Third and most importantly - I think one has to consider what else Rowling could have called the relationship between the elves and the wizards. I am sure there are a lot of words that don't denote ownership. That doesn' remind pretty much everyone of one of the greatest historic crimes ever committed. That doesn't denote the master's power over the slave's life and death. That doesn't reduce the slave to a piece of inhuman, inanimate property that can be moved around and sold and bought and punished and wasted at will.

To put it simply, I cannot believe that Rowling would give me "slavery" and then call it symbiosis. Something suggests mutual benefits, which simply isn't true - not when the elves use their magic only to benefit their masters. There are no benefits for the elves beyond the satisfaction of work itself. The wizards reap all the benefits. Also interesting to note is that Dobby is the first house-elf, we meet, and as such is unlikely to be mutation, in fact that he is the first suggests that his life with the Malfoys is much more typical of the normal house-elf's life than Winky's or the Hogwarts Elves (who are actually kind of powerful within their family).

Nod. It's just a theory. I think it fits the facts we've been given, but that doesn't mean we have all the facts, or that others won't fit as well.


First of all as you pointed out in both cases of Harry getting the letter it happened either in the house or with his wand, so if the Ministry checked both and they just might, then Harry getting the letter is easy to explain. (Even easier if you call it a Flint.)


In either case, though, it would still give an advantage to kids in wizarding households. And calling it a Flint is just Not Fun. :)

Second, I think both Winky and Kreacher's state are not so much a sign of their magic declining, but rather one of being depressed/alcoholic/insane.

Or it could be a combination of factors. *shrug*

Third and most importantly - I think one has to consider what else Rowling could have called the relationship between the elves and the wizards. I am sure there are a lot of words that don't denote ownership. That doesn' remind pretty much everyone of one of the greatest historic crimes ever committed. That doesn't denote the master's power over the slave's life and death. That doesn't reduce the slave to a piece of inhuman, inanimate property that can be moved around and sold and bought and punished and wasted at will.

Here you have me. One thing Rowling doesn't do is use words lightly. My big question, and it is a question - does anyone use the term "slavery" except Dobby and Hermione? Because if no one else does, well. Hermione has her own point of view, and Dobby, according to this theory, *is* a slave. He gets nothing by being bound to the Malfoys and he can't escape.

Also - I don't know about you, but if I hadn't felt desperately sorry for Dobby, I'd have *hated* him in CoS. He gets Harry in trouble, he causes him injury and he's annoying. Meanwhile, it's perfectly in character for Hermione to get taken up in a Cause.

The elves *do* benefit. Without power, they have nothing at all, or any source of shelter. And they exert influence in their families - as you said, look at Winky and the Hogwarts elves.

We need more samples.

I think house-elves are symbiotic to wizards.

This makes more sense than any theory I've previously encountered.

Thank you! I truly appreciate that one.

You are absolutely brilliant.

This makes so much sense on so many levels, and it also fits nicely with the idea of the Ministry watching underage wizards (which I also wholeheartedly agree with and it's the main reason I hate fanfics that have any of the Slytherins as Death Eaters before their 17th birthday).

*adds to memories*

blush

Thank you.

very cool, an interesting essay!

Thank you, sweetie.

Love the theory. I always thought that House-elves were like brownies or some other creature like that. They sort of invaded houses to do what they love...work.
Wizards either bound them to loyalty to the family or forced them to leave. Who would want some strange creature running wild through their house telling secrets or doing whatever they wanted?

Sorry if this is a bit confusing. I'm in a hurry.

Interesting. I think she got them from brownies or from the Shoemaker and the Elves, whom, if you remember, left when they got clothes.

You are a genius. Quite simply. I'd looked at a symbiotic relationship, tied to ensuring hereditary lines of the Pureblood families, but I'd never thought of elves as actually taking their magic from their owners. And it makes sense too, that the Hogwarts elves take their power from not only the Headmaster but from, presumably, the staff and the students.

The other thing is that they do actually enjoy work- JK Rowling is apparently writing from a Christian viewpoint, in which servitude is actually a virtue and a blessing rather than an obligation and curse. So it's possible that the House Elves are actually more enlightened than the humans...

As to how Hermione can free House Elves... is it possible that, as a Prefect, she's actually on par with a teacher in terms of power over the Hogwarts Elves?

Okay, I'm blushing *again*.

Yes, they do enjoy work, which makes Winky and Kreacher even more pathetic.

As I'm not Christian, I'll take your word for the work thing.

The prefect thing might work, but I think it's that they're bound to the school population as a whole, even as it changes every year.

Came here via marej, and had only two things to say:

- very well thought out, very logical theory. I buy it.
- It can't be just anyone who does this, so how come Hermione can? - my memory is shaky, but doesn't Dobby also say that the Hogwarts house elves are offended by Hermione's hats? This doesn't necessarily discount the theory. and if they don't consider all of Hogwarts their 'family', perhaps given that the house elves of Hogwarts would probably be attached to Dumbledore in the absence of anyone else, he's considered the most powerful wizard and so they might still have more than enough magic to use.

Wow. I just checked marej and she got me from thedith, and I don't know either of them, and this is rather cool.

Thank you!

They are offended by Hermione's hats and attempts to free them. The elves can't be bound to just Dumbledore - he's already left twice, and I wouldn't be surprised if he died before the books end. If they're bound to him, I'm not sure where they would go.

This is an brilliant theory, and I would very much like JKR to explain more about the elves, but pretty implausible. :)

Some points could be explained away without this theory -- the Ministry knows that Harry can't Apparate, being underage. Even if they were notified of it, they might not act on it, believing themselves impossible to prove it. The members of the court were surprised at his ability to do the Patronus Charm -- I suspect none of them would believe him capable of Apparition. Another reason could be that Apparition is a different sort of magic than levitation or the Patronus Charm, which, theoretically, could both be done by wands (though Dobby did not use one). Perhaps the Ministry is better at picking up signs of these types of magic (theoretically done with a wand) -- and who is to say their sensors are infallible? I'm not sure the Ministry is that competent that they can pick everything up.

The Ministry was probably watching the area (at the time) for any signs of magic, in order to have a reason to expel Harry, since Umbridge had just sent the dementors over. I suspect they were watching for signs of the Patronus Charm itself, since that's what they believed he would use (if he didn't get his soul sucked out, that is). Why would they accuse him of something as improbable as Apparition, when they already have real evidence of his having performed the Patronus Charm? All they want is some sort of dirt on him.

I also think that this would undermine the 'slavery' message. I think it is perfectly possible to be brainwashed through generations and generations of conditioning and not knowing any other type of life.

Hermione, I think, has the right idea but the wrong way of going about things -- her campaign is meant to show that burgeoning (though completely idealistic) political awareness that all teenagers go through, according to JKR. This political awareness is not necessarily misplaced (because there are many evil things in the world), but marked and made dangerous by ignorance. I tend to think she's right, but that she's oversimplifying the problem.

Still, it is an interesting theory, especially given that not many people care enough to write about house-elves -- who are pretty important (as we were shown by Kreacher having the ability to cause Sirius's death).

Hey, implausible is fun, too.

It certainly does make sense that the ministry was watching Harry. However, Umbridge wasn't trying to entrap Harry. She had no idea he could even do a Patronus - they don't teach that at Hogwarts, at least before fifth year, and there's no record of his private classes with Lupin.

She was trying to kill him.

Hmmm

The other is that no one doubts that Hermione, a mere student at Hogwarts, can give clothing. Remember that Harry had to engineer it so Lucius Malfoy gave Dobby his freedom sock. It can't be just anyone who does this, so how come Hermione can?

Perhaps one need only be a resident of the house in which they work, rather than the owner or a blood relative of the owner?

Thank you for a wonderfully thought provoking essay!

Here via daily_snitch.

In regards to your theory and something DD says at the end of OOTP, "We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for long enough, and we are now reaping our reward." It's understandably presumed DD was referring to Kreacher here, but I wonder if Dobby and Winky could be included in that statement too? Three House Elves, possibly symbols of this long overdue punishment of wizards' false belief of their superiority and total control over their fellows?

I've also debated on if House Elves are so much bound to the family, but the land (more specifically, magical land) the family lives on? Thus, the origins of their magic could come from the land, not the family itself? That could explain the name. HOUSE Elves, not Family Elves or just plain Elves. Over time, the relationship of Elf/Land started amalgamating into Elf/Landowner? Maybe that's why, at their very basics, House Elves aren't necessarily bound to wizards and can betray them, but this is something that's long been forgotten between the long years and wizards forcing it out of them? This could also be why House Elves seem to be more closely tied to pureblood families than others. Presumedly, pureblood families would be living in the same place generation to generation. Hence, evolved the concept of a House Elf serving one (pureblood) family until they die?

Elves on the land first could be one explanation why Hogwarts has House Elves at all. The Founders built Hogwarts on top of their home. Unless of course all the Elves at Hogwarts belonged to the Founders originally, displaced from their original family land/homes and placed at Hogwarts to serve it? However, serve the individual Houses or Hogwarts as a collective? I presume the Hogwarts Elves today are descended from those original Elves? If the Hogwarts Elf system wasn't made a collective, but the Elves are still bound to serve each respective Founder and their House... can a student who was sorted into Gryffindor ever free a House Elf that's descended from Elves who served Slytherin? It's a disconcerting thought. Perhaps the Elves are ultimately loyal to Hogwarts (or the current Headmaster?) and wouldn't betray the other Houses even if ordered by some member of their respective House, but ... there are those anomolies like Kreacher, Dobby and Winky. Four sets of House Elves under one roof could be four sets of spies all trying to screw each other over (whether independently or ordered by someone of their House).

However, if the Hogwarts Elves are still loyal to one respective Founder in some form, just like any other House Elf whose servitude is inherited through the generations ... then what of the Founders' heirs? Does Voldemort have any sway over the Slytherin Elves? Harry (if he's the Heir of Gryffindor) over the Gryffindor Elves?

XD I don't think that it will go that deep. It's a very very interesting theory and lots of potential for drama and abuse but I think that the House Elves would belong more as a collective to Hogwarts and those all therein.

Haha the theory is too complex, I think, to have in the books as they are now so I don't think that a set of elves serve one house. I think that it would have been mentioned.

I love your idea that House Elves are bound to the land and that the Wizards have seemingly forgotten that. It does wrap up Dobby's behaviour nicely and makes sense as to why purebloods seem more likely to have them. I think that there is probably a bit of mental brainwashing going on as well- for keeping secrets at least.

And that gives me lots of ideas for mind games... imagine Lucius talking to a young House Elf, explaining its importance to the Family and its loyalty ect. Ok probably not likely but Poor House Elf! Ah! Imagine if Dobby's messed up because he was tricked/manipulated and lied to by Lucius? Ah okay, a little farfetched but not implausible! >.

Wow. I love this theory- it is so well thought out and makes much sense. The part about Kretcher was frighteningly sensible; the poor house elf not having any magic so he has to try to repair broken glass manually. Wow.

And Dobby is just a weird. XD That explains much.

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